My friend Karin has been asking me to blog about an experience I had recently. She was there when it happened and, I suppose, wants my perspective on it.
I am still processing through what happened that evening in Cedar Hill. I'm not going to lie and say it's all "Oooh! Aaah! Wow!" because that's a land I might visit but I've never learned to comfortably homestead there.
As part of my processing, I emailed my friend Brian and asked if he'd help me by picking my brain. Uber-busy dude that he is, he indicated he had a short window of opportunity for us to talk (to me, 30-minutes is short) so I emailed him with what I remembered from that evening.
I included my own deeply internal responses/reactions to what was happening at the time, many of which do not make me happy because they're indicative of some still existing brokenness and trust issues. If you've read previous posts on my blog, then you know that I've trod some pretty dark territory.
Having said all of that, here is a slightly modified version of the email I sent to Brian:
Let me preface the following with this: I have a pretty vivid imagination so I doubt, a lot, when stuff like this happens to me. It could just be wishful thinking, or stepping back into living in my imagination (which I did as a kid as a survival mechanism). I don't doubt that God speaks to people, and that He tells them wonderful things or shows them wonderful things about themselves. I doubt that He does that with me. That's my damage showing up. Stuff for someone else, that's business and usually fairly easy to do. Stuff for me, that's personal and another matter entirely.
Thursday night the only thing that showed up for me was a really, REALLY powerful longing to go home. To just be somewhere other than this life, somewhere that love and warmth and laughter and goodness and all of those things that have been a void in my life, or an illusion, are real and solid and true. JESUS! I! WANT! TO!COME! HOME! Please...please, can I come home?
Notched that down really quickly, paid attention to Benny Perez, and got to see God electrify Renee. Posted that on FB, drove home, texted you and talked to Annette about what happened with Renee.
Friday, I had already decided I needed to be there but when Karin called me and told me that Jake Hamilton (who she and Renee had mentioned to me the previous evening as someone they knew I'd really like) was going to be leading worship I made a point of being there. We were on the front row, at the steps to the stage. I got to let loose my inner rocker chick with some yelling wide-stanced fist pumping action. It was awesome!!!
The song was about being on our faces before God and asking for His glory to come down. I knelt at the steps, face down and palms up, and sang and prayed - English and tongues - with tears starting and I had a vision. I saw the hem of His robe and his feet right before my eyes. I thought I was imagining things, shook my head and opened my eyes. Then back to having my eyes closed in prayer. Cut to black. Then, again, the hem of His robe and his feet right there. He leaned down and put his hand on my head and said, "stand up."
Hands up, eyes closed, still singing about God's glory. Slightly rocking from side to side. I had the sense that I needed to wash my face - not literally, but symbolically - as though there were a waterfall and I let it stream into my cupped hands and poured the water from my hands over my face. So that's what I did, then back to palms up in worship. Someone put a hand on my shoulder (found out later it was Karin) . Then Tracy wrapped her arms around me, crying (I think). Then Renee joined this embrace and I could hear her say how God delights in my heart (which I had/have a hard time receiving because nobody delights in my heart, ever).
I'm unsure of the order that things happened at this point.
I would swear that Jake Hamilton started singing prophetically and that he was singing prophetically to me. There's a lot that was in what he sang that's just out of reach of what I recall.
But I definitely recall hearing "you don't have to protect yourself anymore."
I don't know whether that happened before or after the next vision. I want to say after.
So...back to the scene of me held by Tracy and Renee...
I see a desert sunrise, and the silhouette of man - Jesus - striding across the desert. The colors are white and amber and gold, so rich and shimmering, and the stride is focused and intentional. I shake my head, because I do have a vivid imagination. Cut to black. Then the vision again. A huge desert sun rising, waves of white and gold and amber shimmering in a lightening sky, Jesus in silhouette striding toward me. I think I hear, "I'm coming for you," but I'm not sure because nobody comes for me, nobody pursues me, ever. Such a thing is unheard of in all creation - that someone would come for me.
I have three almost simultaneous responses to this: 1) "Bring it. Do your worst," 2) "Crap. This is going to hurt," and 3) "Yipes!" because I don't know what it means and it's hard for me to accept how it could be anything other than painful. I'm not happy with myself for these responses. I don't like that they're there.
When I hear "you don't have to protect yourself anymore" something inside broke and I had a moment of heaving sobs. Only a moment, though.
Then everything eases, Tracy and Renee step back, the set is over and I turn to discover two boys - one is about 10 and the other about 13 - right behind me, crying, and Tracy and Renee and Karin pray over them and call out their gifts and calling in God. I joined in the prayer, but wondered about them because they were right there. Karin told me later they'd been praying for me, too.
So, we sit and listen to Banning Liebscher talk about having sustained passion for Christ. He talks about how it's become about having information and says that in order for us to have that sustained fire we need revelation. We need revelation that He loves us first so that we can respond by loving Him back. This really speaks to me because I have a lot of information - I've worked for God for 20 years, and my relationship had become almost strictly business. What I've lacked is the revelation that makes it personal. So this message is for me as much as any message is for one person. After he talks he gives an altar call and I go forward.
At the front, by the steps, again...
I feel the power of the Spirit come down. Tracy, who is standing next to me, goes down. The Spirit hovers over me. I feel the potential to go down, but He asks if this is what I want. I was surprised by the question and asked Him and myself, "do I?" only to find that I didn't. I don't need the dramatic experience to show me that it's real. I've had that. Been there on more than one occasion. What my heart is starved for is the warmth. I tell Him that I want warmth. I want the warm embrace. I want what I've never had. At least what I don't remember ever having. I feel this sense of "Aaaahhh..." come over me. Like how I would imagine it feels to lean into someone and just rest against that person. I don't know for sure, though. I don't have the real world experiences that allow me to connect the dots. I don't know, not really, what it's like to be held - safely, with strength and goodness, by someone I can just lean into. I've been embraced with the mutual comfort type of embrace. I know what that's like. But I don't know what it's like to actually lean into someone strong and safe, whose heart is genuinely for me and whose love is real. So, I can only guess at what it feels like.
Then that lifts and I turn my attention to standing guard over Tracy because she's still on the ground, surrounded by people who almost step on her, until she sits up and gets to her feet. Everything normalizes.
That's my experience.
I'm still processing it. I have a lot of questions - mostly variations of "Why?" and "What does it mean?" because, truth be told, I don't get it. I mean, I get that the experience was real and something I obviously needed, but I don't necessarily see the point. That's one of the "Why?" questions.
And maybe, just maybe, I'm trying to wrap my head around something that's supposed to be understood at the heart level.
That's another question in itself...
7/2/2010 - NOTE: As I've pondered this experience, in particular the sunrise vision of Jesus coming for me, a particular scripture has appeared on my radar. Malachi 4:2. It says: “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture."
I can't help but think there might be a connection...